What is ADHD?

What is ADHD?

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects as many as 4% of adults and 5% of children worldwide.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in Canadian children. Those with ADHD are often abnormally active and have an inability to control their impulses, including making important decisions, talking a lot, and fidgeting. In adults with ADHD, examples of impulsive behaviour may include things like going on shopping sprees, erratic driving, engaging in casual/unprotected sex, destruction of property, and aggression (yelling, screaming) towards others. Trouble focusing and relaxing are also two common symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults.

ADHD can be challenging given the many different ways in which it can manifest, therefore making it difficult to combat. In order to treat ADHD and reduce impulsivity, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, recommends trying some different strategies.

First, it is important to remember that not every case of ADHD will present in the same way. Like many other mental illnesses, ADHD affects everyone differently, so it’s a good idea to understand how ADHD manifests in each individual. Once you have a better understanding of how your ADHD manifests, you can learn the appropriate skills that are best suited for you in order to manage it.

Secondly, be mindful. Observe your impulses and focus on how you are feeling emotionally when impulsivity comes into play. By recognizing your thought process, as you are engaging in impulsive behaviour, you will be better able to separate the good decisions vs. the bad decisions as well as recognize the potential consequences that can occur from such behaviour. Though it is important for Dr. Ali Ghahary to note that mindfulness isn’t something that happens overnight, and may take time.

Thirdly, if you are aware of what your impulses are, make it harder for yourself to act on said impulses. For example, if you are prone to going on shopping excursions, leave your credit cards/cash at home and do something else that forces you to get out of the house instead – such as going for walks/to the gym. Engaging in things like yoga and medication can also help to calm and distract the mind.

In combination with medication, these aforementioned strategies can be quite helpful. For more information on ADHD, please visit the Centre for ADHD Awareness – Canada at CADDAC.ca.